Ground rules on discussing immigration, culture etc

There was a series of posts yesterday here that made a range of claims and generalisations that were unsupported by evidence, and some were obviously wrong.

I have no problem with things like immigration, culture, multiculturalism etc here, but want to detail some ground rules.

If you comment on contentious issues in particular then back up your claims with facts. ‘Supporting’ links to overseas sites of dubious credibility will be viewed with suspicion – it can take time to check these out so they may be suspending pending time to deal with them, or deleted.

Multiculturalism

‘Multiculturalism’ has a variety of meanings and purposes so be specific about what you mean by it.

Dictionary definition:

the presence of, or support for the presence of, several distinct cultural or ethnic groups within a society.

That applies to many countries, and has applied to New Zealand for decades if not centuries.

Wikipedia:

The term multiculturalism has a range of meanings within the contexts of sociology, of political philosophy, and of colloquial use. In sociology and in everyday usage, it is a synonym for “ethnic pluralism“, with the two terms often used interchangeably, for example, a cultural pluralism in which various ethnic groups collaborate and enter into a dialogue with one another without having to sacrifice their particular identities. It can describe a mixed ethnic community area where multiple cultural traditions exist (such as New York City) or a single country within which they do (such as Switzerland, Belgium or Russia). Groups associated with an aboriginal or autochthonous ethnic group and foreigner ethnic groups are often the focus.

In reference to sociology, multiculturalism is the end-state of either a natural or artificial process (for example: legally-controlled immigration) and occurs on either a large national scale or on a smaller scale within a nation’s communities. On a smaller scale this can occur artificially when a jurisdiction is established or expanded by amalgamating areas with two or more different cultures (e.g. French Canada and English Canada). On a large scale, it can occur as a result of either legal or illegal migration to and from different jurisdictions around the world (for example, Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain by Angles, Saxons and Jutes in the 5th century or the colonization of the Americas by Europeans, Africans and Asians since the 16th century).

So it is not just something that has happened over the last few years. Britain has had major cultural influences from the Romans, Vikings, Angles, Saxons, Jutes and French, and has major influxes of immigrants for centuries, notably in the 1800s when work and population expanded due to the industrial revolution.

Critics of multiculturalism often debate whether the multicultural ideal of benignly co-existing cultures that interrelate and influence one another, and yet remain distinct, is sustainable, paradoxical, or even desirable.

It is argued that nation states, who would previously have been synonymous with a distinctive cultural identity of their own, lose out to enforced multiculturalism and that this ultimately erodes the host nations’ distinct culture

nation state (or nation-state) is a state in which the great majority shares the same culture and is conscious of it.

New Zealand has not been a ‘nation state’ since Europeans started settling here in numbers in the 1800s.

Ethnocentrism

Definition: evaluation of other cultures according to preconceptions originating in the standards and customs of one’s own culture

That probably applies to everyone to some extent.

This was quoted:

One of the most damning statements against multicultural society comes from sociobiology and it is this:

Ethnocentrism is not a White disorder and evidence is emerging that immigrant communities harbour invidious attitude towards Anglo Australians, disparaging their culture and the legitimacy of their central place in national identity

That’s an ‘Anglo Australian’ superiority statement that applies fault only to others when a lot of the fault with “disparaging their culture and the legitimacy of their central place in national identity” is with those who see themselves as superior ‘Anglos’.

It ignores an obvious fact – Aborigines. Their culture is unique and is probably the longest established culture (or cultures) in the world.

It also ignores the fact that many other cultures other than ‘Anglo’ have been a part of the Australian mix for a long time.

Shutting down dissent

“The cofuffle about hate speech is really about shutting down dissent.”

No it’s not. It is largely an attempt to reduce speech that is derogatory, divisive, inflammatory and harmful, and speech that promotes superiority rather than equal status. It’s going to be a challenging debate on a difficult issue.

Only those who see themselves as dissenters claim that it is about shutting down dissent. An extreme version of this is those who claim that tightening up our lax gun laws is an attempt to shut down the ability of the population to violently oust a government – I have seen this alluded to at Kiwiblog and Whale Oil, with a UN conspiracy also being mentioned.

“European culture is New Zealand’s founding culture”

That’s obviously nonsense. Polynesian culture is Aotearoa New Zealand’s founding culture, dating back about a thousand years. European culture has had a major impact over the last two centuries, but even that has been a diverse range of cultures.

Other cultures made lesser but still notable impacts, like Chinese, Lebanese and Dalmatian. And over the last fifty years there have been major influxes of various nationalities and cultures, including a range of Polynesian cultures, Asian cultures (the first significant influx of Muslims was actually a mix of those two, Indian Fijians), South Africans, Chinese, Indian, Philippino and others.

‘European culture’ seems to be a euphemism for white superiority.

The white class

Some seem to see ‘white’ as a superior class with a culture that must be preserved. Many of the white Anglos/Europeans who emigrated to New Zealand did so to escape the oppressive class system in England.

You have to be careful about classing people as ‘white’ in New Zealand, many white looking people have a variety of racial and ethnic family histories.

It’s somewhat ironic that those who promote their ‘white class’ as superior are of a small fringe of New Zealand society.

The bottom line

Anyone wanting to promote what I perceive as some sort of white/Anglo/European superiority agenda will need to back up their arguments with sound reasoning and facts – and not cherry picked facts that distort the true picture.

The more sweeping generalisations, unsupported claims and conspiracies that are made the less tolerance I will have for giving you an unmoderated forum.

Final word

There is no cultural or ethnic majority in New Zealand. We are a diverse mix of cultures. Sure, some have been more prominent than others, but that doesn’t make them stand out on their own or superior or inferior.

We need to value our uniqueness and our similarities whatever our ethnic or cultural background is.

And we need to accept that all of this is changing. The culture I live in in my small corner of the country is significantly different to the one I grew up in, and in many respects it is richer and better. Even if I wanted to I couldn’t go back to what it was, it doesn’t exist any more.

“Tolerance New Zealand’s real religion”

It should be, but there are still a lot of people who don’t follow it. We should acknowledge that we can all be intolerant, but can all work towards better understanding of and tolerance of other people, other cultures, other religions.

ODT editorial:  Tolerance New Zealand’s real religion

White nationalists, Islamophobes and other hate groups openly extol a clear goal – to separate ”them” from ”us”. In the wake of Friday’s terrorist attack, it seems prudent to confront the myth some believe in: that when it comes to religion in this country, there has never been an ”us”.

Evidence indicates the first humans to set foot in Aotearoa were Eastern Polynesian settlers some 800 years ago who brought religious beliefs with them.

Those beliefs centred around the idea that, through genealogy, all things were connected – hills, rivers, animals, plants – to the Maori themselves. Yet within the several hundred years Maori lived here before European settlement, the way those beliefs were expressed was already evolving and diverging.

Europeans arrived with a variety of takes on monotheism. Catholicism and Protestantism were the major players, but there were others.

The State, of course, was an extension of the British Crown and, as such, it is easy to look back at the last hundred or so years of New Zealand history and conclude we are, and have been, a Christian country.

But the beliefs of those who have settled here, who have journeyed to one of the most far-flung land masses on Earth and made a life for themselves, are far more varied than that. In reality, we have never been a solely Christian country. Since the arrival of Europeans, we have been a nation of multiple religions.

And agnostics and atheists.

A major fallacy in the argument of those wanting New Zealand to ”remain” or ”return” to being as culturally, ethnically or religiously ”pure” as it always was is that New Zealand has never been mono-ethnic, mono-religious or mono-cultural. And it never will. Because our national genealogy is not one of ”purity”.

Far from it. we are a diverse mix of cultures, nationalities, races and religions.

Islam is an ancient religion, born from the same part of the world Christianity was, just a few hundred years later. It is widely practised around the world and has as much right to be considered ”normal” in New Zealand as any other religion does.

Yes, there are radical arms of Islam. There are radical arms of Christianity, too. And of football fans, environmentalists and many more groups besides. It takes an appalling negligence of consideration to believe only the radical arms of a large group of people define that group.

Generalising is common. Like Christians. Muslims. Maori. Asians. Europeans. Colonialists.

All are quite varied, diverse, and there are often mixes and blends.

It is absurd for any New Zealanders to believe Islam has less right to be practised freely, safely and given respect in this country than other religions. Muslim New Zealanders are simply New Zealanders who practise a religion. Religions, while culpable for many unpleasant aspects of history, also bring meaning, stability, guidance and context to billions of people.

We are not a Christian country, despite being a country of many Christians.

We are not a religious country, though we are a country of many religions.

In fact, if there was to be any ”religion” that defined New Zealand, it should be a religious devotion to inclusivity, tolerance and openness.

Let that be the New Zealand religion and, in our pursuit of it, let’s ensure Muslim New Zealanders know, feel and trust they are, now and forever, simply Kiwis.

We all have to work hard on accepting differences, and tolerance.

 

Encounters – two great voyaging traditions, Polynesian and European

New at NZ History: Encounters – Discover stories of encounter between two great voyaging traditions, Polynesian and European, which led to the formation of a new nation.

Painting by Tupaia with Tuia 250 logo

 

Polynesian voyaging and discovery

The Pacific Ocean was one of the last areas of the earth to be explored and settled by human beings. It was only around 3200 years ago that people began heading eastwards from New Guinea and the Solomon Islands further into the Pacific.

Great skill and courage was needed to sail across vast stretches of open sea. Between 1200 and 1000 BCE these voyagers spread rapidly to Fiji and West Polynesia, including Tonga and Samoa.

The direction and timing of settlement

New Zealand was the last significant land mass outside the Arctic and Antarctic to be settled. The Polynesian culture emerged in Fiji, Samoa and Tonga from the earlier Lapita culture, which had formed from the mixing of the Melanesian peoples already living in Near Oceania with migrants from the vicinity of Taiwan.

During the first millennium CE, Polynesians sailed east into French Polynesia and the Marquesas, before migrating to Hawaii (600 CE), Easter Island (700 CE), and New Zealand (1250–1300 CE), the far corners of the ‘Polynesian triangle’.

Sketch of Double-hulled voyaging canoe

British Library Board. Ref: 23920 f.48

This double canoe was sketched off the New Zealand coast in 1769 by Herman Spöring. It has a double spritsail rig and appears to be made from two canoes of different length and design lashed together. Archaeologist Atholl Anderson argues that the double spritsail was the most likely type of sailing rig used by the Polynesian voyagers who reached New Zealand in the 13th century.

Migration

Although it was once believed that the ancestors of Māori came to New Zealand in a single ‘great fleet’ of seven canoes, we now know that many canoes made the perilous voyage. Through stories passed down the generations, tribal groups trace their origins to the captains and crew of more than 40 legendary vessels, from the Kurahaupō at North Cape to the Uruao in the South Island.

Sometime between 1300 and 1550, Māori from New Zealand settled on the Chatham Islands (Rēkohu), more than 750 km south-east of the mainland.

European voyaging and discovery

Portuguese and Spanish navigators sailed the Pacific Ocean in the 1500s, but there is no firm evidence that Europeans reached New Zealand before 1642.

In that year the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman sailed in search of the vast continent which many Europeans thought might exist in the South Pacific. Dutch merchants hoped this land would offer new opportunities for trade. Tasman sighted New Zealand on 13 December 1642, but after a bloody encounter with Māori in what he called ‘Murderers’ Bay’ (now Golden Bay/Mohua) on the 19th, he left without going ashore. Tasman then sailed up the west coast of the North Island but did not establish how far east land extended.

Cook’s First Voyage

The Royal Society had proposed to the British Admiralty that the transit of Venus (the passage of the planet Venus across the face of the sun) be observed in the South Pacific. This observation, combined with others elsewhere, would make it possible to accurately calculate the distance from the Earth to both Venus and the sun.

Lieutenant James Cook was appointed to command the expedition. Cook was approaching 40 and had 10 years’ experience in the Royal Navy, mostly in North American waters. Previous to the navy, Cook had worked in the coal trade, which turned out to be an advantage: the ship for the expedition was a former coal ship, a relatively small vessel of 368 tons, just 32 m long and 7.6 m broad.

Once the planetary observations had been made, Cook’s expedition was to locate Tasman’s outline of New Zealand and establish how far it extended to the east. The Endeavour sailed south into uncharted waters and then west. On 6 October 1769, the surgeon’s boy sighted the high hills of Aotearoa.

The people of Tūranganui-a-Kiwa were the first to meet Cook when he anchored. Conflict arose when the crew went ashore to seek water and supplies, and killed or wounded several Māori.

Details of Cook’s first visit follow – theses have been well recorded and taught.

James Cook's New Zealand

Alexander Turnbull Library. Ref: PUBL-0037-25 – Drawn by James Cook in 1770

On his second voyage (1772–75) Cook used New Zealand as a base for probes south and east which finally proved there was no such continent. The expedition had two ships: HMS Resolution, commanded by Cook, and HMS Adventure, commanded by Tobias Furneaux. Both ships sailed from England on 13 July 1772 and spent time in New Zealand waters between excursions into the unexplored parts of Antarctica and the Pacific.

On his third voyage (1776–79) Cook again commanded the Resolution, with Charles Clerke in command of the Discovery. Cook paid a last visit to New Zealand, staying from 12 to 25 February 1777 at ‘our old station’, Ship Cove in Queen Charlotte Sound, before sailing into the north Pacific and through Bering Strait to the north coast of Siberia. He was killed in an avoidable incident at Kealakekua Bay, Hawaii, on 14 February 1779.

Early meetings between peoples

On the evening of 18 December 1642, two waka of Ngāti Tūmatakōkiri people approached two strange ships, which had anchored near the north-western tip of the South Island. These ships, the Heemskerck and the Zeehaen, were commanded by the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman. This was the first known occasion when Māori encountered Europeans.

On this occasion the Māori group called out to the ships’ occupants and blew on a shell trumpet to challenge the intruders; the Dutch ship replied with their own trumpets. The next day, a waka approached with 13 Ngāti Tūmatakōkiri on board. They were shown gifts by Abel Tasman’s men, but returned to shore. Seven more craft then came out to the ships. A small Dutch boat, which was passing a message between the two ships, was rammed by one of the waka and its occupants attacked; four of the Dutchmen died. As the ships weighed anchor and set sail, 11 canoes approached and were fired on, possibly causing injuries. As a result of the incident, Tasman never landed on New Zealand shores, and named the place Moordenaars Baij (Murderers Bay).

For almost 130 years, Europeans and Māori had no further contact with each other. Then on 8 October 1769, James Cook and others landed on the east side of the Tūranganui River, near present-day Gisborne. It appears from later accounts that the local Māori at first took the ship to be a floating island or giant bird. The fertile land surrounding the wide bay Tūranganui-a-Kiwa was home to a large population of Māori at that time, divided into four main tribes.

Cook’s relationship with Māori got off to a disastrous start when a Ngāti Oneone leader, Te Maro, was shot and killed by one of Cook’s men. It seems likely that the local people were undertaking a ceremonial challenge, but the Europeans believed themselves to be under attack.

A lot more detail follows. I haven’t seen this photo before:

The replica of Cook’s Endeavour and the waka Te Awatea Hou

The Picton Historical Society.

The replica of Cook’s Endeavour and the waka Te Awatea Hou – a waka taua built in 1990 – meet in Meretoto/Ship Cove in 1996, where Cook spent time on each of his journeys to New Zealand.

While a small ship the Endeavour would have looked impressive to Māori, but the size of the waka is also impressive.

There is a lot more information and related links at NZ History, including Māori explore the world

The soft and loud of “Pākehā”

(I have posted and reposted this in 2012 and 2014 but some who haven’t seen it might be interested).

I’ve often wondered what ethnicity to call myself.

I’ve never felt anything like “European”.  I only recently visited Europe for the first time in my life, and didn’t go to the countries my ancestors emigrated from.

European
— adj
1.     of or relating to Europe or its inhabitants
2.     native to or derived from Europe
— n
3.     a native or inhabitant of Europe
4.     a person of European descent

http://dictionary.reference.com/cite.html?qh=european&ia=ced

I’m of European descent, but then a lot of the world except Africa could probably claim some European link. Anyway, I see “European” as having a link to Europe now, not some time in the distant past.

“Caucasian” is another term sometimes used but it sounds more remote to me than European.

Cau·ca·sian
1.
Anthropology . of, pertaining to, or characteristic of one of the traditional racial divisions of humankind, marked by fair to dark skin, straight to tightly curled hair, and light to very dark eyes, and originally inhabiting Europe, parts of North Africa, western Asia, and India: no longer in technical use.

http://dictionary.reference.com/cite.html?qh=caucasian&ia=luna

So technically, that’s not me either.

usage: The word Caucasian  is very widely used in the US to refer to people of European origin or people who are White, even though the original classification was broader than this

http://dictionary.reference.com/cite.html?qh=caucasian&ia=ced

And I have no US heritage so ruled out there too.

So I should be using some local description. I certainly identify as a New Zealander and a Kiwi, so in a wider sense that is appropriate.

kiwi
As slang for “a New Zealander,” it is attested from 1918.

http://dictionary.reference.com/cite.html?qh=kiwi&ia=etymon

That sounds fine, but it isn’t universally known. I was talking to an American once who only knew a kiwi as a brown furry fruit, the sort that was called a Chinese gooseberry back in the old days.

New Zealander
— n
a native or inhabitant of New Zealand

http://dictionary.reference.com/cite.html?qh=New+Zealander&ia=ced

Yip, I’m one of those. But what sort of a New Zealander am I?

I was put off a common native language description, Pākehā, because I’ve heard some fairly derogatory “definitions” relating to fleas or fat pigs, but I’ve done some research that pretty much rules them out. What does Pākehā mean then?

1. (loan) (noun) New Zealander of European descent.
Te rongonga o te Māori i te reo kihi, hoihoi, o Kāpene Kuki rātou ko ōna hōia ka kīia e te Māori he Pakepakehā, ka whakapotoa nei ki te Pākehā. Nā te Māori tēnei ingoa i hua e mau nei anō (TP 1/1911:5). / When the Māori heard the soft and loud sounds of the language of Captain Cook and his sailors the Māori called them ‘Pakepakehā’, which was shortened to ‘Pākehā’. The Māori created this name. which is still used.

http://www.maoridictionary.co.nz/index.cfm?dictionaryKeywords=pakeha

That sounds reasonable enough. What else is known about it? From Wikipedia:

There have been several dubious interpretations given to the word Pākehā. One claims that it derives from poaka the Māori word for (pig), and keha, one of the Māori words for (flea), and therefore expresses derogatory implications. There is no etymological or linguistic support for this notion.

Although some are apparently offended I’m happy with the derogatory versions being ruled out.

The origins of the term are unclear, but it was in use by the late 18th century. Opinions of the term vary amongst those it describes. Some find it highly offensive, others are indifferent, some find it inaccurate and archaic, while some happily use the term and find the main alternatives such as New Zealand European inappropriate.

New Zealand European seems very strange, associating opposites, like an Arctic penguin.

Historian Judith Binney called herself a Pākehā and said, “I think it is the most simple and practical term. It is a name given to us by Māori. It has no pejorative associations like people think it does — it’s a descriptive term. I think it’s nice to have a name the people who live here gave you, because that’s what I am.

I can comfortably agree with that.

So depending on the circumstance I’m happy to describe myself as any of New Zealander, Kiwi or Pākehā.

The soft and loud of “Pākehā”

I’ve often wondered what ethnicity to call myself.

I’ve never felt anything like “European”.  I only recently visited Europe for the first time in my life, and didn’t go to the countries my ancestors emigrated from.

European
— adj
1.     of or relating to Europe or its inhabitants
2.     native to or derived from Europe
— n
3.     a native or inhabitant of Europe
4.     a person of European descent

http://dictionary.reference.com/cite.html?qh=european&ia=ced

I’m of European descent, but then a lot of the world except Africa could probably claim some European link. Anyway, I see “European” as having a link to Europe now, not some time in the distant past.

“Caucasian” is another term sometimes used but it sounds more remote to me than European.

Cau·ca·sian
1.
Anthropology . of, pertaining to, or characteristic of one of the traditional racial divisions of humankind, marked by fair to dark skin, straight to tightly curled hair, and light to very dark eyes, and originally inhabiting Europe, parts of North Africa, western Asia, and India: no longer in technical use.

http://dictionary.reference.com/cite.html?qh=caucasian&ia=luna

So technically, that’s not me either.

usage: The word Caucasian  is very widely used in the US to refer to people of European origin or people who are White, even though the original classification was broader than this

http://dictionary.reference.com/cite.html?qh=caucasian&ia=ced

And I have no US heritage so ruled out there too.

So I should be using some local description. I certainly identify as a New Zealander and a Kiwi, so in a wider sense that is appropriate.

kiwi
As slang for “a New Zealander,” it is attested from 1918.

http://dictionary.reference.com/cite.html?qh=kiwi&ia=etymon

That sounds fine, but it isn’t universally known. I was talking to an American once who only knew a kiwi as a brown furry fruit, the sort that was called a Chinese gooseberry back in the old days.

New Zealander
— n
a native or inhabitant of New Zealand

http://dictionary.reference.com/cite.html?qh=New+Zealander&ia=ced

Yip, I’m one of those. But what sort of a New Zealander am I?

I was put off a common native language description, Pākehā, because I’ve heard some fairly derogatory “definitions” relating to fleas or fat pigs, but I’ve done some research that pretty much rules them out. What does Pākehā mean then?

1. (loan) (noun) New Zealander of European descent.
Te rongonga o te Māori i te reo kihi, hoihoi, o Kāpene Kuki rātou ko ōna hōia ka kīia e te Māori he Pakepakehā, ka whakapotoa nei ki te Pākehā. Nā te Māori tēnei ingoa i hua e mau nei anō (TP 1/1911:5). / When the Māori heard the soft and loud sounds of the language of Captain Cook and his sailors the Māori called them ‘Pakepakehā’, which was shortened to ‘Pākehā’. The Māori created this name. which is still used.

http://www.maoridictionary.co.nz/index.cfm?dictionaryKeywords=pakeha

That sounds reasonable enough. What else is known about it? From Wikipedia:

There have been several dubious interpretations given to the word Pākehā. One claims that it derives from poaka the Māori word for (pig), and keha, one of the Māori words for (flea), and therefore expresses derogatory implications. There is no etymological or linguistic support for this notion.

Although some are apparently offended I’m happy with the derogatory versions being ruled out.

The origins of the term are unclear, but it was in use by the late 18th century. Opinions of the term vary amongst those it describes. Some find it highly offensive, others are indifferent, some find it inaccurate and archaic, while some happily use the term and find the main alternatives such as New Zealand European inappropriate.

New Zealand European seems very strange, associating opposites, like an Arctic penguin.

Historian Judith Binney called herself a Pākehā and said, “I think it is the most simple and practical term. It is a name given to us by Māori. It has no pejorative associations like people think it does — it’s a descriptive term. I think it’s nice to have a name the people who live here gave you, because that’s what I am.

I can comfortably agree with that.

So depending on the circumstance I’m happy to describe myself as any of New Zealander, Kiwi or Pākehā.